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QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: Which Is Best for You?

It also lacks the level of customization that some companies may prefer. QuickBooks was developed by Intuit in 1998 as a double-entry accounting program meant to be used by small businesses. This was a follow-up to the success of Quicken, which was more of a personal finance and home-office accounting solution. Today, QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software on the market. QuickBooks allows you to access almost all types of accounts, including but not limited to savings account, checking account, credit card accounts, and money market accounts.

  • We provide you support through different channels (Email/Chat/Phone) for your issues, doubts, and queries.
  • Launched in 1983, it was originally aimed at individuals looking to manage their money better.
  • When working with the Desktop version, it’s downloaded right to your computer.

While the Desktop version has app integrations, it doesn’t have near as many as the Online version. There are over 200 options instead of the 650-plus to its cloud counterpart. Fortunately, both versions of QuickBooks do allow you to integrate the core accounting software with add-on products and other software. QuickBooks Online can integrate with over 650 different applications or add-on products.

In particular, the QuickBooks Desktop platform, which is either installed locally or hosted remotely, offers different functions than the QuickBooks Online cloud computing version, which is fully remote. With QuickBooks Desktop, you can set recurring invoices, send payment reminders, send batch invoices, and track invoices, but you’ll miss out on many of the other modern, cloud-based automations that QBO provides. We recommend crunching the numbers to decide whether the online or desktop versions of QuickBooks are right for your specific business. Advanced Inventory is included in the Platinum and Diamond subscriptions only.

For example, with QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced, you can track inventory and do job costing — that is, you can figure out how much you spent to complete a certain project. Using the Banking tab on the left side of the dashboard, you can connect your bank and credit card accounts so that QuickBooks automatically imports transactions and categorizes them for you. Later, when reconciling your books, you’ll be able to review these transactions in the For Review tab within the Banking menu.

Easy to find QuickBooks resources

Mac users would need to download and install QuickBooks for Mac to use the service. QuickBooks Desktop is more traditional accounting software that you download and install on your computer, while QuickBooks Online is cloud-based accounting software you access through the internet. For the Desktop version, you pay an annual fee starting at $549.99 per year, and the cloud-based option starts at $15 per month.

  • Though not web-based, QuickBooks Desktop can be hosted online for more convenient access if desired.One of QuickBooks Desktop’s best features is its use of centers, which provide a central point for all activity.
  • You have the option of contacting QuickBooks customer support directly for any help you may need too.
  • But for most small-business owners in most industries, QuickBooks Online has better automation, better access, and a better price point.
  • Both applications can have long wait times to access telephone support, but you’ll likely get a better response if you purchase QuickBooks Online Advanced or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, as both offer 24/7 support.
  • If you have employees, you can add QuickBooks Payroll to your QuickBooks Online account for as little as $45 per month plus $5 per employee.

Regardless of the option you pick, this comprehensive article will assist you in making an informed decision throughout your search for the ideal accounting software. Should you let a third-party company source raw materials for your products with contract manufacturing? Or should you supply them yourself and pay a toll for the manufacturing services? Whether you opt for QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online, Tax1099 seamlessly integrates with both accounting software systems. With a single click, effortlessly sync your 1099 vendors from QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online to Tax1099, streamlining your tax preparation process. After you sign up for QuickBooks Online, you’ll be able to log in to your account and access the main dashboard view.

Although, if you select to buy QuickBooks Desktop enterprise, it let you access built-in enhanced payroll. QuickBooks Online provides up to 80 reports which may vary with the selected plan, meanwhile QuickBooks Desktop pro offers 130 reports. If you purchased a license of QuickBooks Desktop enterprise and QuickBooks Desktop Premier you can opt for more reports. The basic reports like a profit and loss report, a balance sheet, or cash flow statements you can find in both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. QuickBooks Online permits up to 25 users according to the pricing plan. The additional user license for QuickBooks Desktop Pro cost is $299 which seems slightly expensive.

QuickBooks Online

The closest comparison that can be made would be between QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Online Advanced. This is for the “Gold” version which should give your business all you need to get started with accounting. This annual subscription can sometimes include a 10% discount for the first year of service.


Doing so grants you access to the Priority Circle loyalty program, including a dedicated account team, free on-demand training, and premium care from QuickBooks experts. If you have employees, you can add QuickBooks Payroll to your QuickBooks Online account for as little as $45 per month plus $5 per employee. QuickBooks Payroll allows you to pay your employees by checks or direct deposits, e-file and e-pay taxes, print and e-file W-2 Forms at year-end, and more.

QuickBooks Online VS Desktop Comparison 2023 (

QuickBooks Online is simple to use, have more integrations, automation, best invoicing, and core built-in lending feature. Neither QuickBooks Online and Desktop’s Pro and Premier plans have fantastic customer support overall. In fact, only QuickBooks’ Enterprise Desktop plan really has customer support worth writing home about. Lastly, QuickBooks offers both Android and iOS apps for mobile controls. More specifically it discussed the key differences between QuickBooks Online vs Desktop.

Katherine Haan, MBA is a former financial advisor-turned-writer and business coach. For over a decade, she’s helped small business owners make money online. When she’s not trying out the latest tech or travel blogging with her family, you can find her curling up with a good novel. Another notable difference is QuickBooks Online offers a Self-Employed version for $15 per month, which is not available with QuickBooks Desktop.

Xero vs. QuickBooks Online: Features Comparison, Pros, Cons

Below jotted down options is a breakdown of the specific features advantageous for you in comparing QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop worth to the business. The major difference between these two products is that QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based program running in the Internet-enabled 7 steps to a budget made easy system and QuickBooks Desktop needs to be downloaded and installed on the system. It signifies that the QB desktop version does not need the internet to work and users are unable to access it remotely. QuickBooks Online offers a vast array of features and automated processes.

Local installations are billed annually, while hosted solutions are billed monthly. That’s because it’s one of the leading accounting software programs for managing payroll, operations, accounts receivable and numerous other financial functions. QuickBooks Enterprise is designed for large businesses or small enterprises and starts at $1,410/year. If you choose to cancel your QuickBooks Online subscription, you will still have access to your QuickBooks Money account and data. QuickBooks Desktop offers the same support options found in QuickBooks Online including video tutorials, on-demand webinars, and various training options. Both applications also include an easy setup process, so you can be up and running in little time.

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